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What We Learned This Week: World Press Photo and POYi Winners

By David Schonauer   Friday February 17, 2017


This was a week of winners and losers.

Among the winners was Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici, whose dramatic photograph of the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey in December was named the Photo of the Year in the 2017 World Press Photo contest. “I was afraid, but I did not panic,” Ozbilici told The New York Times  in a phone interview. “I’m a journalist and I had to stand and do my job even if I got hit or killed. At that moment I tried to represent not just A.P. but all good independent journalists.”

Thomson Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman’s photograph of 28-year-old nurse Ieshia Evans standing in front of riot police during a protest against police brutality in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, won first prize in the Contemporary Issues – Singles category. Time LightBox featured highlights from the news, people, and  sports  categories. This year’s contest attracted 80,408 images from 5,034 photographers from 125 countries, noted the British Journal of Photography.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times photographer Marcus Yam won 2016 Newspaper Photographer of the Year prize at the 74th Pictures of the Year International competition. Yam won for a portfolio that included images of the 2016 wildfires in California, the emotional turn of Hillary Clinton supporters on election night, and demonstrations in LA following the election, noted PDN Pulse. First place for Spot News went to Ozbilici for his photo of the Turkey assassination.

PDN also noted  that photographs of Donald Trump and his supporters dominated the top prizes at POYi: Nadav Kander’s Trump photograph for Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” cover won the first place in the Portrait category. New York Times photographer Damon Winter won first place in two categories: Campaign 2016 Picture Story, for images of Trump campaign rallies;  and US Presidential 2016, for a single image of a Trump supporter.

On losing side this week was Nikon, which announced that it was officially canceling its much-delayed DL series of compact cameras while also notifying shareholders of “extraordinary loss” in 2016 due to restructuring expenses. PetaPixel  reported that 1,000 workers were being let go through a special voluntary retirement program, and that the company was revising its financial forecast for the fiscal year ending March 3, 2017. The DL series — Nikon’s answer to popular premium point-and-shoots like Sony’s RX100 and RX10 series — was killed because of high development costs, added DP Review.

Here are some of the other photo stories we covered this week:


1. Nurturing Storytellers in Latin America and Africa


“Photographers from Africa and Latin America think the western gaze is how you make it in the industry, that poverty and blood-drenched photos are the ones that are going to sell because it’s the one that is portrayed the most,” says Laura Beltrán Villamizar, a photo editor originally from Colombia. The New York Times  recently noted that she and Colombian photographer Federico Rios Escobar have started Native Agency, a collective that nurtures photographers in Latin America and Africa in an alternative way of seeing. (Above: a photo by Native photographer Joao Castellano.)


2. An Arsenal of Faux Weapons Is a Hit


A year and a half ago, Denver-based lifestyle photographer Jason Siegel thought it would be interesting to create a lay-flat photo of his camera gear displayed in the shape of a gun. "It turned out pretty cool and got lots of great feedback on social media," he says. Then he decided to take the project further: For a project called "Shoot Photos, Not Guns," Siegel created a series of objects out of photo gear that resemble assault rifles, grenades, and machine guns. As we noted, the photographer hit the mark with his work.


3. GIFs Tell Story of War and Hope on "Syria Street"


To create his multimedia project “Syria Street” for the International Red Cross, photographer  Brandon Tauszik spent 10 days in Tripoli, Lebanon, documenting daily life along the thoroughfare separating the Sunni population of the Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood from the Alawite community of the Jabal Mohsen neighborhood. There, conflict stretching back decades still plays out. But, noted Feature Shoot, Tauszik’s animated GIFs underscore how life goes on and how hope persists in the face of trauma.


4. The Pictures That Inspired the Film "Loving"


In 1965, Life magazine photographer Grey Villet traveled to rural Virginia to photograph Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple in the midst of a groundbreaking court case against the state of Virginia, which had proclaimed their marriage illegal under its miscegenation laws. Villet’s photos, shot over a two-week period, were the inspiration behind the new film Loving, from director Jeff Nichols. “He said that without Grey’s work he couldn’t have made this film,” said Villet’s widow, Barbara Villet, at AnOther.


5. Julia Fullerton-Batten's "The Act," Portraying Sex Workers, Now a Book


Fine-art photographer Julia Fullterton-Batten's series about sex workers, titled "The Act," is now a book. Fullerton-Batten photographed 15 escorts, dominatrices, porn actresses, lap dancing artistes and sexual surrogates as performers who, she noted in an artist's statement published last summer at PPD, "live their entire working lives as if on stage.”  We noted  that the new book underscores the artfulness of the images and the artifice of the sexual performance Fullerton-Batten recorded: It comes bound with a lace garter.

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At Top: From Yael Martinez/Native Agency

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